Monday, December 2, 2013

England’s Ashes Pacemen Struggling for Form

England’s chances of winning the second Ashes Test in Adelaide this coming week look increasingly slim after their fast bowlers toiled to a forgettable draw against a Cricket Australia XI in Alice Springs. Following a quite humiliating 381-run defeat in the first Test in Brisbane, there was hope among cricket betting fans that England would regain some sort of credibility in their between-Tests fixture.

But the second-string pacemen were made to suffer in 39 C heat as the CA XI declared on 254-8. Steven Finn failed to pick up a wicket while Boyd Rankin – widely tipped by those who bet on cricket as a contender to make the second Test – took one late on during an uninspiring performance.

Granted, spinners Graeme Swan and Monty Panesar earned seven wickets between them but an Ashes series Down Under is not won with a turning ball.

The result, in which England lost seven wickets for 212 in their first innings before declaring, highlights just how badly the team is struggling, not only under the heat of the Australian sun but also up against a fierce opposition.

Australia have not made things easy for the tourists and it seems a long time since Stuart Broad walked into the Gabba press conference on day one with a beaming smile and five wickets to his name.

Jonathan Trott’s exit from the squad due to stress further highlights the pressure this team are under and captain Alastair Cook must be hoping for a near miracle this coming week. Cook himself has not impressed with the bat for over a year now and, without a fixed opening partner, has a lot on his plate when he steps out to the crease.

Indeed, with England so deflated and relatively rudderless, there really is no reason why Australia cannot have this Ashes series wrapped up by the close of the third Test in Perth.

For the good of the sport, let’s hope England do put up a fight, starting with some accurate and intimidating deliveries on what will be a baked Adelaide wicket. 

Alex Jackson for DieHard Cricket Fans

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